Striving for customer service excellence in the digital age

The digital revolution has unleashed many opportunities, so why can't we get customer service right? Mark Samuels takes a look

CIOs and their executive peers recognise great IT is all about understanding, and meeting, customer demand. So, why is customer experience so patchy in the digital age?

For many, however, the dream scenario is more like a nightmare.

One explanation is the complex nature of customer interactions. The face-to-face sales channel used to be the main, if not only, means to communicate with customers. Now, there are multiple offline and online channels, including telephone, online and mobile.

Organisations like to talk about being omni' and servicing customers successfully across multiple channels. The dream scenario sees a customer enquiry tracked and traced, from initial online research, to a chat with a telesales representative and on to order completion, possibly in a high street location.

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For many, however, the dream scenario is more like a nightmare. People regularly complain about the inability of NHS bodies to pass information about health complaints from one system and health authority to another. The lack of linkage can result in patients having multiple x-rays and blood tests, wasting time and money.

But the lack of integration is not confined to the public sector. Start an order online, move to another channel, and it is still rare for a business to be able to track and trace your preferences. 

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